Taming the Green Monster in Twins

I have recently come to the realization that my former “tried and true” techniques for taming jealousy in my other children have come to fall significantly short. There has always been the expectation that the oldest child is required to be slightly more gracious to a younger sibling simply because they are older and are capable of understanding more complex directions. However, Emily’s seventeen minutes of seniority over her sister have no effect on her ability to understand more complex directions.

So, I am left with twin girls who will willingly trample each other to get to the object of their affection which is usually me. (I’m so lucky!) However, neither girl is steady enough or strong enough to dissuade the other girl from the object of her affection either. And as Murphey’s law would have it, generally the esteemed object is the same for both girls.

Logic would dictate that I should be thankful I have twins and not triplets because afterall, I do have two arms to hold them. And I have been mothering long enough that sitting around all day holding them no longer bothers me. However, you can rest assured that if Emily wants to be on the left side of my lap, so does Laura. Despite my having a sufficient number of arms to hold–somehow I fall short. The appeal of an object increases significantly when the other twin has it.

Is there an answer to twin jealousy? I don’t know. Right now, we’re just buying the girls all the same or similar toys, things, etc. A coping mechanism on my part, I know. But it seems that they are just too young to understand sharing and that allowing them to have their own things actually helps them to share.

If you think about it, it is hard to share something with someone else if it isn’t yours. Can you imagine inviting people over to. . .your friend’s house for dinner? Of course not. Simply put, you don’t share things that aren’t yours. . .for the obvious–they’re not yours to share.

Likewise, it occurred to me that twins have an additional adversary in taming their jealous streaks. Unlike most newborn babies, twins have to wait their entire lives. For example, my newborns, even the others besides my first, pretty much got picked up when they cried. Their diapers got changed immediately, they got fed when they fussed, and honestly, I usually wore my newborn in a sling while I was taking care of the older children. There really was not a lot of waiting around.

But twins on the other hand, have to wait for the other one in everything. While it is possible to tandem feed at the same time, logistically it is not easy. (Just imagine trying to gingerly handle a floppy headed, 10lb. Doll–with one hand. Trust me, it’s not so easy.) So often, someone has to wait a little to be fed. They have to wait for the other one to have their diapers changed. Then they have to wait to be held, as I cannot hold both at the same time and get lunch together. Now that they’re older, they have to wait for the other one to get her coat, or be put in the stroller or whatever. Think about your normal day and you’ll discover, they have to wait for everything. No wonder they’re green with jealousy.

Do you have twins? What creative ways have you dealt with twin jealousy? Look for upcoming blogs on tips to curb sibling rivalry in twins and how to encourage individuality between your twins.